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Lugnut
11-06-2006, 22:24
Our buddy Bill Bryson has a new book out titled "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid". It has nothing to do with the AT but rather about his adventures growing up in Des Moines, Iowa. It seems that he and Katz have been lifelong friends and had many experiences on the streets of Des Moines. According to the review by Vick Mickunas, Katz is a real person named Matthew Angerer who has come out of anonymity and pretty much admits to being 'Katzy' both growing up in Des Moines and on the AT trip. According to Mickunas, Angerer is somewhat miffed at his portrayal in the book ' A Walk in the Woods' but is enjoying his moment in the sun, as he puts it. The book is # 6 on the New York Times best seller listing. Katz (Angerer) still lives in Des Moines.

Lone Wolf
11-06-2006, 22:39
You know your favorite admirer, Jack Tarlin, is gonna give you sht over this. He will prove you wrong.:)

A-Train
11-06-2006, 23:04
I'm reading the book now, but haven't gotten to that part yet. I look forward to the mystery that is Katz. Either way, hate him or love him, Bryson is one funny guy! And I never knew his father was a famous sports writer.

Lugnut
11-07-2006, 00:17
You know your favorite admirer, Jack Tarlin, is gonna give you sht over this. He will prove you wrong.:)

Well, thanks for your confidence! :eek: I drank an extra beer - I'm ready. :D Don't kill the messenger. I only relayed info from a press release.

general
11-07-2006, 09:16
the new book is probably all bull sht, just like Walk In The Woods.

Lugnut
11-07-2006, 09:35
I'm reading the book now, but haven't gotten to that part yet. I look forward to the mystery that is Katz. Either way, hate him or love him, Bryson is one funny guy! And I never knew his father was a famous sports writer.

Judging from the review Katz is not identified as Matthew Angerer in the book. He was present, and interviewed, at the book signing. Sounds like Katz was just being Katz in the narative. Let us know if that isn't the case.

NICKTHEGREEK
11-07-2006, 10:44
I've enjoyed all his books and look forward to this one.

Swiss Roll
11-07-2006, 10:53
Oh goody, a Katz thread! Nothing livens this board up like Bryson. I'm just gonna stand back and watch the carnage unfold.

Undershaft
11-07-2006, 11:43
Long live Katz! Any way you look at it, Bryson is a great writer. I look forward to reading his new book.

The Weasel
11-07-2006, 11:55
Oh goody, a Katz thread! Nothing livens this board up like Bryson. I'm just gonna stand back and watch the carnage unfold.

Well, I've pretty muched watched the carnage here from the very start of this Board, as well as at the other one before that, and even met 'the other' Bill Bryson during my thruhike attempt in '00. I've been a bit mystified at the utter hostility to Bryson. He's not a bad writer, and not a great one, but readable. He's in the long line of satiric and sardonic travel writers that goes back to Homer (the Greek one, d'oh!). He drew attention to the AT far beyond the purely adulatory books of others, and made it seem like a fun place for the public. Yes, he was wrong in many places; both the Guidebook and Companion are wrong sometimes, too. And he mocked some places and people, sometimes displaying traits in them that might better have been left more private, at least in non-Kazakhistanis.

He wrote a book, made some money on it, and moved on to other books, and, other than among friends of those who consider hiking the AT ("Hey! I read this book about it, here it is!") and AT fanatics such as us here at WB, his book is largely forgotten by the masses moving on to new reads.

Bye, Bill. We hardly knew ye (and didn't miss much).

The Weasel

vick mickunas
12-31-2006, 15:51
Hello AT lovers:

Someone e-mailed me about this thread and I thought that you might be interested in some more info about A WALK IN THE WOODS, Bill Bryson and Steven Katz.

When I reviewed Bryson's recent memoir about growing up in Des Moines in the Dayton Daily News I was not able to include a number of factoids. I have known Steven Katz for 25 years. "Katz" and Bryson are older than I am but we all went to the same high school. When A WALK IN THE WOODS came out I tried to get an interview with Bryson on my radio show (I did an author interview program for many years on public radio). Bryson's publisher told me that he wasn't available (he was in Australia).

Since I wanted to cover the book I needed to interview somebody and since I was aware that my friend Matthew Angerer was really Steven Katz I called him up and did an interview with him. During that interview he told my audience that Bryson took a lot of liberties with his portrayals of things in the book.

Some of the funniest things like Katz chasing women around laundromats and his passion for junk foods were (according to Katz) either greatly exaggerated or completely untrue.

Katz was unmasked as Angerer a couple of years ago. A British tabloid sent some reporters to Des Moines to look for Katz. They drove to his small town and by an amazing bit of luck drove down the street and found him standing in his yard. They wrote an expose' in which they showed photos and got embarrassing quotes about Bryson. Katz was paid for his interview. Bryson, the top-selling non-fiction writer in the UK was not amused. I asked Bryson about it this year. He was still indignant.

I have interviewed Bryson 4 times now and Katz twice about various books. Katz appears as himself (Matthew Angerer) in the new Bryson book. That fact is not transparent, however Angerer is thanked by name in the credits.

In regard to A WALK IN THE WOODS fading away: the book has sold millions of copies. Bryson has become a multi-millionaire as a result. Katz still lives from hand to mouth. Everything Bryson publishes now sells like hotcakes because of A WALK IN THE WOODS.

Last week, A WALK IN THE WOODS was published in a new trade paperback edition and I can assure you that it will sell like hot showers on the AT.

The book is far from over. Thanks, for your interest.

Vick Mickunas

MOWGLI
12-31-2006, 16:05
Thanks for sharing what you know Vick.

Hana_Hanger
12-31-2006, 16:11
and just a little more proof....
http://www.itv.com/page.asp?partid=6466

T-Dubs
12-31-2006, 16:26
Hello AT lovers:
When A WALK IN THE WOODS came out I tried to get an interview with Bryson on my radio show (I did an author interview program for many years on public radio). Bryson's publisher told me that he wasn't available (he was in Australia).
Vick Mickunas

Vick,
Thanks for the information on this subject.
Those of us in the Dayton area miss your radio program; both the interviews and your music selections. We spent a lot of time tuned into the old YSO--back before 'the troubles' changed that station.

Tom in Tipp

rafe
12-31-2006, 16:53
Katz appears in at least one other Bryson novel that predates AWITW, namely, "Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe." That one too, had me laughing silly because much of it reminded me very much of a similar sort of trip (also through Europe) that I made with a friend in the early 1970s.

vick mickunas
12-31-2006, 17:29
Thanks, for your comments.

It's true, Katz was in that early book. I think that was Bryson's first book. Bryson told me that Katz was almost a cardboard cutout figure in that book. His personality really was not on display.

There was one incident on that trip that Bryson and Katz took through Europe that was not included in that book. Katz (Angerer) told me about it years ago and Bryson admits that it really happened.

They were in Turkey and they over-indulged in raki, the Turkish national drink. As they stumbled down the street they were passing by a plate glass window when the boisterous Katz pushed Bryson. Billy smashed right through it. They ended up in court and narrowly escaped incarceration for their prank.

If things had ended differently, A WALK IN THE WOODS might have been more like MIDNIGHT EXPRESS.

Thanks, for listening. Happy New Year...

Vick Mickunas

rafe
12-31-2006, 17:47
Vick,
Thanks for the information on this subject.
Those of us in the Dayton area miss your radio program; both the interviews and your music selections. We spent a lot of time tuned into the old YSO--back before 'the troubles' changed that station.

Tom in Tipp

WYSO!!!! Holy mudhead, Mackerel. I miss the Village Bakery, the most. Fresh donuts at midnight. Another era...

Fannypack
01-03-2007, 16:42
Thx for taking the time to post here.

For the record, my father, Tex, and I stayed at the Rainbow Springs campground the nite that Katz & Bryson were there. The reason I say this is because allot of persons I have talked to, thought that Katz was just a made up person (actually he was in a way; e.g., it is hard for me to believe that Katz threw out coffee filters on the ascent of Springer to reduce pack weight). I read "A Walk in the Woods" and most of the things that Bryson described in the camp store & in the bunkhouse were true (for that nite).

Thx again for your post.


Hello AT lovers:

Someone e-mailed me about this thread and I thought that you might be interested in some more info about A WALK IN THE WOODS, Bill Bryson and Steven Katz.

When I reviewed Bryson's recent memoir about growing up in Des Moines in the Dayton Daily News I was not able to include a number of factoids. I have known Steven Katz for 25 years. "Katz" and Bryson are older than I am but we all went to the same high school. When A WALK IN THE WOODS came out I tried to get an interview with Bryson on my radio show (I did an author interview program for many years on public radio). Bryson's publisher told me that he wasn't available (he was in Australia).

Since I wanted to cover the book I needed to interview somebody and since I was aware that my friend Matthew Angerer was really Steven Katz I called him up and did an interview with him. During that interview he told my audience that Bryson took a lot of liberties with his portrayals of things in the book.

Some of the funniest things like Katz chasing women around laundromats and his passion for junk foods were (according to Katz) either greatly exaggerated or completely untrue.

Katz was unmasked as Angerer a couple of years ago. A British tabloid sent some reporters to Des Moines to look for Katz. They drove to his small town and by an amazing bit of luck drove down the street and found him standing in his yard. They wrote an expose' in which they showed photos and got embarrassing quotes about Bryson. Katz was paid for his interview. Bryson, the top-selling non-fiction writer in the UK was not amused. I asked Bryson about it this year. He was still indignant.

I have interviewed Bryson 4 times now and Katz twice about various books. Katz appears as himself (Matthew Angerer) in the new Bryson book. That fact is not transparent, however Angerer is thanked by name in the credits.

In regard to A WALK IN THE WOODS fading away: the book has sold millions of copies. Bryson has become a multi-millionaire as a result. Katz still lives from hand to mouth. Everything Bryson publishes now sells like hotcakes because of A WALK IN THE WOODS.

Last week, A WALK IN THE WOODS was published in a new trade paperback edition and I can assure you that it will sell like hot showers on the AT.

The book is far from over. Thanks, for your interest.

Vick Mickunas

mrc237
01-05-2007, 06:32
I was able to borrow the CD set from my local library and download it into my I-pod. Bryson is the reader (he doesn't sound like he's from DesMoines) and he's very enjoyable and funny. BTW growing up in the 50s in DM dosn't sound much different than Brooklyn in the 50's.

Fannypack
01-05-2007, 07:35
Bryson is the reader (he dosn't sound like he's from DesMoines)
Does he sound British?

rafe
01-05-2007, 07:43
Does he sound British?


Sounds about half-Brit and half midwestern, IIRC.

generoll
01-05-2007, 09:13
Just to feed the legend of Bryson and the rumor mill a bit, I was told by a hiker and occasional poster here on WB that Bryson was sued for his portrayal of Rainbow Springs campground and its owners and ended up settling for a not inconsiderable sum. Guess it didn't seem wise to face a Macon County jury after his portrayal of small southern towns and the inhabitants. Probably pocket change to a multi-millionaire, however.

mrc237
01-05-2007, 10:05
Does he sound British? Sorta like he's doing an impression of a Brit.

Lone Wolf
01-05-2007, 10:06
Sorta like he's doing an impression of a Brit.

Like that Madonna broad.

mrc237
01-05-2007, 10:09
If she was Canadian.

rafe
01-05-2007, 10:10
Sorta like he's doing an impression of a Brit.

IIRC, Bryson's parents were Brits. Bryson himself lived and worked for about 20 years in England, then Hanover NH, and now back in England. Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa.

mrc237
01-05-2007, 10:16
Well, that explains it all. I was quick to download and never bothered to read the jacket. BTW his voice is very clear and precise making the narrative that much more enjoyable. Was his British roots explained in AWITW? What is IIRC? Thanks.-------EZ

rafe
01-05-2007, 10:26
Was his British roots explained in AWITW? What is IIRC? Thanks.-------EZ

I can't remember where I read that his parents were Brits. Maybe in his newest book, or maybe elsewhere. IIRC = "if I recall correctly."

Fannypack
01-05-2007, 10:55
What is IIRC? Thanks.-------EZ
a good acronym site: http://acronymfinder.com

stuco
01-16-2007, 02:50
I just finished "A walk in the woods" today. I thought it was a very good book. Katz (matthew) should get about a third of the profits from that book because it would suck without his character (exagerated or not)

Jaybird
01-16-2007, 07:48
"....Bryson took a lot of liberties with his portrayals of things in the book."


Vick Mickunas




is this the BIGGEST understatement ever made on WhiteBlaze?

Desert Lobster
01-16-2007, 12:03
What was inaccurate about what he wrote?

BirdShooter
05-11-2014, 00:29
Thx for taking the time to post here.

For the record, my father, Tex, and I stayed at the Rainbow Springs campground the nite that Katz & Bryson were there. The reason I say this is because allot of persons I have talked to, thought that Katz was just a made up person (actually he was in a way; e.g., it is hard for me to believe that Katz threw out coffee filters on the ascent of Springer to reduce pack weight). I read "A Walk in the Woods" and most of the things that Bryson described in the camp store & in the bunkhouse were true (for that nite).

Thx again for your post.

I was an extra in the Bunkhouse scene you describe. They are shooting the movie around Atlanta now but the Rainbow Springs scene was shot at a church camp two weeks ago just south of the Atlanta airport (and not in N.C.)

And I can tell you this .... Nick Nolte is a great "Katz". This movie is going to be damn funny. I know A.T. thru-hikers generally don't support it - but credit the casting folks because they are trying to get thru-hikers in the movie (and have so far).

But with Cheryl Strayed's Wild coming out in 2014 and Walk In The Woods soon to follow - the AT and PCT will be overrun with people in the coming years. Thru-hike now while you can!

Crazy Larry #1
05-11-2014, 10:26
I was an extra in the Bunkhouse scene you describe. They are shooting the movie around Atlanta now but the Rainbow Springs scene was shot at a church camp two weeks ago just south of the Atlanta airport (and not in N.C.)

And I can tell you this .... Nick Nolte is a great "Katz". This movie is going to be damn funny. I know A.T. thru-hikers generally don't support it - but credit the casting folks because they are trying to get thru-hikers in the movie (and have so far).

But with Cheryl Strayed's Wild coming out in 2014 and Walk In The Woods soon to follow - the AT and PCT will be overrun with people in the coming years. Thru-hike now while you can!
The trail went crazy after the book, I cannot even imagine what it will be like after the movie.....

Tipi Walter
05-11-2014, 10:39
If Bryson's new book has nothing to do with backpacking then it's simple crap to me and doesn't need to be read as I could care less about Des Moines or about a guy still in his infancy with his fascination over junk food.

And the only thing I remember about Katz in the AT book was some AT hiking girl asking him his astrological sun sign and he replies, "Cunnilingus." Now that's pretty funny. And I think she nodded her head knowingly and said she wasn't aware of that particular sign.

greenmtnboy
05-11-2014, 16:01
I very much disliked that poor excuse for a book and frankly it goes along with the Seinfeld, MASH type crap humor. People appear to be using their paid writing to work out their inner conflicts, they would be better served not burdening the rest of humanity with their low grade form of humor. That goes double for the Katz character. How Bryson is able to make money with his books is frankly beyond me. Thoreau, John Muir, Euell Gibbons, Eric Sloan, Roger Tory Peterson and the classic outdoors writers would be disgusted by his stuff.

rafe
05-11-2014, 18:17
..they would be better served not burdening the rest of humanity with their low grade form of humor. That goes double for the Katz character. How Bryson is able to make money with his books is frankly beyond me.

He's funny as hell, and has insights that millions of people appreciate. Thoreau, on the other hand, I find a deadly bore. Euell Gibbons? Seriously?

Bryson's got about fifteen books by now, several of them scholarly works; a few on science, a few on the history of the English language, another about the life of Shakespeare. He's a former college chancellor (2005-2011) as well as honorary Fellow of the Royal Society.

It appears he's worked out his inner conflicts pretty well.

MuddyWaters
05-11-2014, 18:58
This has been argued here many times.
All I can say is, if someone didnt find some of the book entertaining and humorous, they are in the minority.
Bryson wrote a lot about history and ecology of the trail. I suppose people dislike those parts as well?

Brysons writing style made a boring plot entertaining. I simply dont see actors pulling it off.

Del Q
05-11-2014, 21:30
What I found interesting about this post is the time frame, 1st post November 2014.............long time ago

Bill Bryson is a talented writer, when I first read this book I was seeking knowledge about backpacking and the AT, put it down pretty quick..........then read it months later and laughed.

We should begin a betting pool on if/when the movie will ever be released.

stvn
05-12-2014, 07:42
Del Q, I also worked as an extra in the movie with BirdShooter in a different scene...the movie is in production as we speak and should wrap up the last of the filming by June 6th.......I bet u it does come out!

Josh Calhoun
05-13-2014, 08:50
the new book is probably all bull sht, just like Walk In The Woods.im not a fan of his work either....

mak1277
05-13-2014, 10:40
I'd much rather read a book written by a writer who hikes a little, vs. a book written by a hiker who writes a little. Most of the AT books I've read are no better than reading someones trail journal.

SouthMark
05-13-2014, 11:31
I'd much rather read a book written by a writer who hikes a little, vs. a book written by a hiker who writes a little. Most of the AT books I've read are no better than reading someones trail journal.
+1........

MuddyWaters
05-13-2014, 20:48
I'd much rather read a book written by a writer who hikes a little, vs. a book written by a hiker who writes a little. Most of the AT books I've read are no better than reading someones trail journal.

Most simply ARE someones trail journal.

Often mildly interesting until after the smokies, due to the writers steep initial learning curve. Once they kind of get into the hiking groove, boring. There is half dozen on my kindle, I simply couldnt finish.

SawnieRobertson
05-14-2014, 11:39
Three or four times post publication, I had to ooooo and aahhhhhh over Christmas gifts that I already had been given--yep, A Walk in the Woods. I did not want to enjoy it, but, until he got serious about environmental issues, I could be heard laughing out loud if anyone were around. What made me laugh? With the exception of the account of Katz's throwing away essentials, I could relate to every funny, embarrassing tale. Wes told me that he had advised Bill Bryson and "Katz" to stop hiking with the same group if he wanted stories to use, and Bryson followed his advise. Until then I thought that Katz had to be a composite of figments of Bryson's imagination.